Pentagon maps plans for the future with Artificial Intelligence

FILE – The Pentagon is seen in this aerial view in Washington, March 27, 2008 file photo. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)


The Pentagon is making a huge push to accelerate the application of artificial intelligence to ships, tanks, planes, drones, weapons and large networks as part of a comprehensive strategy to more quickly harness and the integration of the latest innovations.

Many forms of AI, are already well underway with the AMERICAN military combat systems, but new technologies and applications are emerging so rapidly, that the Assistant Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan is aimed at the immediate creation of a new Joint Artificial Intelligence Center.

“The Deputy Secretary of Defense directed the DoD Chief Information Officer standup the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center to enable the teams in DoD to rapidly deliver new AI-enabled capabilities and effective to experiment with new operational concepts to support DoD military missions and business functions.” DoD spokeswoman Heather Babb told the Warrior Maven.

Pentagon planning for the new effort to connect otherwise disparate AI developments in the services. The key concept, of course, is to take advantage of the latest and most efficient forms of autonomy, automation, and the specific ways in which AI can develop for the long term — but also have a direct impact on the current military operations.

AI performs a wide range of functions that are not purely limited to the conventional views of THIS or cyberspace, computer algorithms are increasingly able to almost instantly gain access to vast pools of data, comparing and organizing information and performing automated procedural and analytical functions for human decision makers in a role of command and control. While AI can, of course, dramatically accelerate data consolidation, cloud migration and different types of much-needed cybersecurity, it is increasingly being applied, more generally, about weapons systems, large platforms and the control of the networks.

Fast data-base access, the organisation of information and the execution of high-volume procedural functions are all the decided advantages of AI applications. Algorithms, for example, are increasingly able to scan, view and organize ISR input, such as images or videos to identify points of control of the relevance of the potential importance of a commander.

AI enabled technology can perform these kinds of procedural functions exponentially faster than humans, massively shortening the crucial decision-making period for the control of the policy makers. At the same time, many experts, developers and military leaders recognize that some problem-solving faculties and subjective measurement, unique to human cognition – are still indispensable for the decision-making in the war.

For this reason, advanced AI, depending on what the developers refer to as “man-machine-interface or “the easing of the cognitive burden,” in which people function in a command and control power while the computer automation to quickly perform a number of important procedural features.


These AI-controlled phenomenon is especially important when it comes to data systems as a whole and the developments in the field of cyber security. For example, Air Force engineers are using advanced computer automation to replicate the human behaviour online – for the specific purpose of attracting and tracking potential intruders. Also, the AI can be used to perform real-time analysis on incoming traffic as possible, with malware, viruses or any other form of attempted burglary. If the source, characteristics or discernable pattern of an attempted intrusion can be identified quickly, cyber defenders are better positioned to play in.

In high-volume, redundant tasks are performed by means of computer automation, man is free to spend energy pursuing a wider range of interpretive or conceptual work.

For example, the Army is working with a private company called NCI to a certification of the compliance of the standards of conduct for a specific AI-based program designed to streamline a number of important tasks.

The NCI-developed program that allows the creation of an account, an account want to delete, background checks and other kind of high-volume data analysis.

“You can login to 10 different websites at the same time, instead of having a person do that. A machine can go through and collect all the information for a person,” Brad Mascho Chief AI Officer, NCI, told Warrior Maven in an interview. “The man can focus on higher priority threats.”

At the same time, big data analytics can quickly create new challenges for some of the most important reasons; a larger data flow can make it difficult for servers to “flex” as necessary to get a fast jumps in the data by means of. Therefore, AI-empowered algorithms such as those developed by NCI are required for organizing incoming data, and identifying anomalies or a possible intrusion.

There is also a growing need for more real-time monitoring of the activity on a message, “bus”, because the default analytics methods based on probability theory and statistical probability often detect intrusions after the fact and are not always reliable or 100% accurate, cybersecurity experts and analysts explain.

AI & Cyber Defense

Algorithms relying on advanced AI to be used to get quick access to vast pools of data to perform real-time analytics designed to detect patterns and anomalies associated with malware.

“Every day, the Ministry of Defence thwarts an estimated 36 million e-mails with malware, viruses, and phishing from hackers, terrorists and foreign adversaries trying to gain unauthorized access to military systems,” Babb told the Warrior Maven earlier this year.

A certain technique that is now being developed by CISCO systems, aims to address a certain irony of cybersecurity paradox; namely, while many of DoD network traffic is encrypted for additional security, encryption can also make it more difficult for cyber defenders to look for hidden malware in the traffic.

CISCO is now prototyping new detection methods as part of an effort to introduce their technology to the U.S. military services.

“We have the ability to read and detect malware in encrypted web traffic. Although the information is encrypted, there is still a pattern of malware,” Kelly Jones, Systems Engineer, CISCO Navy programs, told the Warrior Maven.

AI & Large Combat Platforms, Tanks And fighter Jets

Real-time analytics, the height of AI, has already had much success with both the Army and the air force, air-Conditioned-Based Maintenance initiatives. The Army uses IBMs Watson computer to perform real-time analytics on the sensor information of Stryker vehicles and tactical trucks.

On the basis of seemingly limitless databases of historical information, Watson was able to analyze information in connection with possible engine problems and other important vehicle systems. Good can recognize when a certain control of the vehicle, system, malfunction, or repairs to help combat and logistics operations. In addition, the Army-IBM Stryker “proof of principle” exercise was able to wirelessly send data from sensors, allowing the AI to compare with new information collected against a historical database in seconds.

The Army is also working with IBM to test ” AI-enabled “autonomy kit” on a tactical truck designed to provide a much greater degree of autonomous navigation.

Advanced algorithms, improved in some cases by means of machine learning, to enable systems like Watson in order to draw directly on large volumes of historical data as a way to speed up the analysis of the main mechanical indicators. Real-time analytics on the basis of documented pools of the established data via computer automation, it can integrate otherwise disconnected from sensors and other onboard vehicle systems.

“We have identified a number of challenges in how to harmonize data from sensors that is provided of the different solutions. Kevin Aven, partner and co-account lead, Army and Marine Corps, IBM Global Business Services, told the Warrior Maven in an interview earlier this year.

Watson, for example, unstructured information, maintenance, manuals, reports, safety, materials, vehicles, history, information, and other vehicle technologies and make use of AI to analyze data and draw informed conclusions of great significance for military operations, Aven explained.

When created, IBM stated that “more than 100 different techniques are used to analyze natural language, identify sources, find and generate hypotheses, find and score evidence, and merge and rank hypotheses,” according to IBM’s Systems and Technology.

Working with a company called C3IoT, the air force is doing something similar with F-16’s. On board avionics and other technologies to be monitored and analysed with the help of AI machines to distinguish if any repairs or replacement of parts required.

Applications of AI are also credited with enabling the F-35s “sensor fusion” technology, which uses computer algorithms to autonomously collect and organize a wide variety of sensor data for the pilot.

It goes without saying that targeting data is of crucial importance when it comes to mechanized ground warfare. With this in mind, Army combat vehicle developers are prototyping AI-compatible sensors designed to combine sensor data necessary for the identification of targets. As a long-range EO/IR thermal imaging sensors are capable of both collecting and organizing the control data, the vehicle crew can attack enemy targets much faster.

Some short-term applications, high officials, the Army Research Laboratory say, including air and ground drone autonomy. It is an example of an area where the AI has been a big influence and is expected to figure prominently in the long-term.

“We know that there are unmanned systems for the future, and we want to look to unmanned systems, and working with teams of manned systems. This implies, AI-enabled machine learning in high priority areas, we know that it is going to be long term as well as short-term applications,” Karl Kappra, chief of the Office of Strategy Management for the Army Research Lab, told the Warrior Maven in an interview earlier this year. “We also know we are going to operate in complex environments, including electromagnetic and cyber areas.”

For example, Kappra explains that the sensor-equipped micro-autonomous drones can be programmed with advanced algorithms back to send combat-relevant photos or provide attacking forces with the most important dimensions of a goal.

“We are looking for micro-electrical mechanical systems, and image systems to fly through a building autonomously and show you where the walls and threats are in the buildings,” Kappra said.

Also Army combat vehicle developers consistently emphasize manned-unmanned in cooperation with the “wing man” drone robots to work in tandem with manned vehicles for the transport of ammunition, test enemy defenses, identify goals and possible weapons fire. Some senior Army weapons and technology have the developers said that most of the future combat vehicles will be designed with a certain degree of autonomous capability or manned-unmanned work together-technology.

Increased computer automation also plays a large function in the Navy’s new Ford-Class aircraft carriers. The new carriers make use of advanced algorithms for performing diagnostics and other on-board maintenance and procedural tasks independently. This Navy-developers say, allows the service to reduce the crew by a whopping 900 sailors per carrier and save up to $4 billion dollars over the life of a ship.

Warfare, Ethics & AI

It is interesting that the debates about the future of AI, especially when it comes to autonomy, continues to spark considerable controversy. Current Pentagon doctrine indicates that there must always be a “human-in-the-loop” when it comes to making decisions about the use of deadly force. However, the technology that allows an autonomous system to track, acquire and destroy a target on itself without human intervention – is already here.

In an earlier interview with Warrior Maven, an air force scientist made the point that the current doctrine is, of course, in connection with offensive strikes of any kind, however, there may be a number of cases where weapons are used autonomously in a purely defensive way. For example, AI-enabled interceptors can be programmed to knock out incoming enemy missile attacks without destroying anything else than an approaching enemy weapon. In this case, AI could serve an enormously valuable defensive function by performing intercepts exponentially faster than having a human decision-maker involved.

Of course, this type of technology raises ethical questions, and some have made the point that, although the U.S. military intends to maintain a certain ethical stance – there is, of course, an essential concern that potential adversaries will not do the same.

Also, while it is often portrayed as the “future” of war and technology, AI has a number of limitations. For example, problems in the fight, less visible nuances informing specific decisions, the determination of the causality and the analysis of a range of different interrelated variables – are perhaps things best performed by the human mind.

Many things in war, of course, are often a complex by-product of a range of more subjective factors – influenced by concepts, personality, individual psychology, historical nuances, and larger sociological phenomena. This of course raises the question as to how much that even the most advanced computer programs for this and other less “hard” factors.

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